ZenUI customization feedback (improve 1-hand use on Zenfone 8)
I just purchased an Asus Zenfone 8, which is the best bet for a high-end spec'ed "compact phone" on the market. Generally I'm really happy with my Zenfone 8, but a little UI customization would make it perfect!
I read on Asus ZenUI page (cannot link) that Asus are open to feedback for ZenUI so here it is. I tried sending a mail to [email protected] like the page says, but get error back that the mail does not exist. So I will try the Zentalk forum instead to see if it reaches the right people.
In short I wish for the bottom navigation panel and top of the screen to be adjustable in size so the active screen area is reduced. This would make it possible to tailor the phone for one-hand use to the specific person who is using it (depending on size of hands). This is needed, because the Zenfone 8 is not a true compact phone (to tall), but the closest that has been in the market for the past years. For the record I think I have hands that a bigger than average, but still current phones are to large for true 1-hand operation, so I don't think this is a "tiny hand"-problem.
I'll try to keep this short, but here it goes why this would make me happy and probably a lot of other compact phone fans happy.
My definition of a compact phone is a phone where the active part of the screen can be operated with 1 hand while having the phone in a locked handgrip. The test that you should be able to pass is that all 4 cornors of the active screen should be reachable with the thumb while holding the phone with the screen facing down (forcing a locked handgrip). Only phones such as iPhone 12/13 Mini and Sony Xperia XZ1/XZ2 Compact has the natural dimensions to make this possible while also having somewhat high-end specs, but if you are not into Apple, then time is running out for those phones (just had a XZ1 Compact myself that started locking up/become unresponsive) leaving no true alternatives on the market for compact phone with good specs.
Some people claim they can operate larger modern phones in 1-hand, but truth is that they have the phone laying flat in their hand only covering the 4 fingers to free up mobility for the thumb, and rely on gravity for the phone to stay in place so it only works with the screen facing up. Not true 1-hand operation like I described before with the locked grip that will allow full native 1-hand operation with the phone in any orientation.
The Zenfone 8 is a compact phone by modern standards, but not really a compact phone to my defintion (or what was the "compact standard size" a few years ago). However only the height is an issue for 1-hand navigation - the rest is perfect!. The height issue could easily be fixed by adjusting the active part of the screen, by increasing the size of the navigation panel and the top panel. I would love for this adjustment to be available in the ZenUI!
I know 1-handed mode exist for ZenUI already, but it drags down the top of the screen to the middle and disables other navigation. It's sort of a enable/disable feature you use on-demand when you need to reach something in the top, and does not really offer a great experience compared to be able to natively reach everything on the screen.
When searching the internet for a new compact phone to replace my Sony XZ1 Compact I found a lot of people are just as annoyed as me that no real compact phone exist with good specs anymore, still hanging on to their Sony Xperia compact models like I did. The Zenfone could be the answer to that (even though it's probably more niche than mass market appeal).
I'll try to illustrate how I see the improvement of adjustable top/bottom would fix 1-hand usage to make it a "true" one-hand phone:
Picture #1 and #2 depict the current layout with size set to "large" in settings (it's smaller with it set to standard - it's the current compromise I'm making, even though I would prefer standard size if panels top/bottom werent so small). Picture #3 shows what I wish to be adjustable. Picture #4 and #5 is edited pictures to show how I would like the final result to be, making it possible to operate an app in 1-hand with locked handgrip without the need to reposition the grip on the phone or overstretching the finger to reach a specific icon.
I don't know how above would work for gesture-navigation mode, but for classic 3-button navigation this would make it possible to tailor the phone for the specific hand-size of the user by reducing the active screen area in "standard scaling mode" for an app, with the compromise of getting some larger black borders at the top and the bottom (which I personally don't think is an issue at all). And full screen size could still be used for games/movies of desired apps by setting fullscreen scaling for them (settings for that already available in current software).
Googling myself it seems that the design parameters is available in Android OS to actually adjust this in "dimen.xml" like:
<dimen name="bottom_navigation_icon_size" tools:override="true">32dp</dimen> <dimen name="design_bottom_navigation_height" tools:override="true">72dp</dimen>
But obviously I don't know how Asus coded the software, so I cannot advice, but just saying it seems to be available and only thing needed is support in the phones UI settings to set the values.
It would fit very well into the current system-navigation settings-menu where you choose between navigation line and gesture-mode. In the sub-menu for navigation line where you can currently only choose the layout of the buttons, then additional options to set custom height of the navigation line and icon size, and custom height for the top panel as well would be what I wish for. I don't care about actual implementation though, but just a suggestion :)
I hope you like the idea. It would be a huge deal for us that like high-end phones, but want phones that can be operated with 1 hand locked grip. It's a lot more convienitent for our daily busy lives to be able to take the phone out of the pocket, check notifications, respond to a mail/message, google something quickly or whatever with one hand and put it back into the pocket without having to stop what you are doing, free up both hands and use both hands to operate the phone fully.
Sorry for the long thread.